Antifake / Factcheck

05 April 2023

Top 5 Fake News. Depleted uranium armor-piercing rounds are a highly radioactive

Whether the radioactivity of depleted uranium is dangerous to human health is not known for certain, and medical research is contradictory.

The depleted uranium armor-piercing rounds scandal. The UK confirmed it would provide Ukraine with DU shells. In the Belarusian state propaganda media, this news causes claims that depleted uranium is a highly radioactive weapon.

So, here is what was claimed by Igor Poznyak, the host of the ONT TV channel:

“During the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, 15 tonnes of depleted uranium were dropped on Serbia. According to NATO itself, this is a higher level of radiation than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the same time, studies by scientists indicate its connection with cancer.”

“The lawyer who filed a class-action lawsuit against the North Atlantic Alliance on behalf of all the victims in Serbia says of a real cancer epidemic in the country. In the country, this diagnosis is made to 30 thousand patients every year, but in London, this fact stopped nobody in London.”

We have verified reports by Mr. Pozniak, that allegedly according to NATO, the depleted uranium in Yugoslavia had a higher level of radiation than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And fact check shows that the alliance says otherwise.

A report on its official website refers to a study by the Spiez Laboratory, the Swiss Federal Institute for NBC-Protection, which is a division of the Federal Office for Civil Protection. In the conclusions following that study, NATO says:

“An apocalypse caused by man as a result of the use of DU ammunition in Iraq and the Balkans is not worthy of discussion!

If certain minimal precautions are taken… the health risks of a time-limited stay in a DU-contaminated area are shown to be negligibly small, especially in comparison to other risks such as minefields, duds, snipers.”

When the radioactive isotope U-235 is extracted from natural uranium, it is depleted. U-235 isotopes are added to other uranium to increase radioactivity, and such uranium is said to be enriched.

Whether the radioactivity of depleted uranium is dangerous to human health is not known for certain, and medical research is contradictory. But its radioactivity is halved.

And the statement sounds quite weird that the DU radiation is more dangerous than the contamination radiation level of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bombed using enriched uranium.

The next piece of fake news on this topic was reported by Dmitry Shevtsov, Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross.

“We see the growth of morbidity, especially cancer. Well, you could look at Yugoslavia, and other countries that have been hit with depleted uranium shells, and their cancer rates have increased 5-6 times,” he claims.

Really, in 1999 the US bombed the former Yugoslavia with DU-based ammo as part of an operation to force Belgrade to withdraw from Kosovo, where massacres of ethnic Albanians have been documented.

Only since 2000, there are data on the incidence of oncology in Serbia on the WHO's website. 

In 2000, there were 294 cases of cancer per 100,000 people. And in 2018, there were 597 cases per 100,000 people. Thus, there is definitely a 2-fold increase, although it is far from a 5-fold growth.

In 2007 a noticeable jump in cancer rates was deducted, but no connection was found to the radiation consequences of the 1991 bombings.

In addition, during this period, there is a growth in cancer rates throughout the world and in those countries of Europe that the United States did not bomb. In Turkey, the incidence increased by almost 5 times.

It also grew up in the neighboring countries of Serbia, which were part of Yugoslavia until 1991. In Slovenia and Slovakia, the incidence rate is even higher.

Serbia has one of the highest cancer death rates in Europe. But before 1999 it was high too, and even higher. According to a study by Serbian scientists of cancer mortality in 1999 — 2015, it grew evenly before and after 1999, without sharp jumps. And it started to decline only after 2009.

And finally here is the last fake news about Serbia from the host of state-run TV “Belarus-1” Ksenia Lebedeva.

“Today, in Europe, Serbia ranks first in terms of cancer incidence and second in the world,” she says.

And it is refuted by the WHO’s standardized incidence cancer rates for all countries of the world.

According to the latest data, in 2020, throughout the world 17 countries, including the United States, were ahead of Serbia. And in Europe, prosperous Denmark and Ireland are leading in terms of cancer incidence.

Poland hosts the largest part of US troops in Europe

The UK talks about the supply of DU shells to Ukraine. And in response to this, Vladimir Putin announces the deployment of real tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Belarusian state media currently substantiates the idea that the deployment of nuclear weapons is necessary for Belarus itself since a large number of American troops have been drawn to the country's borders.

In particular, the issue was discussed by Andrei Voropai, an employee from the state-run Belta news agency, and Alexander Alesin, a military analyst:

— We have been witnessing the militarization of Poland for a very long time. And as far as I know, among all the countries of Europe, they have the largest contingent of US troops. And could we treat the deployment of this tactical nuclear weapon as a signal, first of all, to the Poles?

— Certainly.

In fact, the permanent US military presence in Poland is not the largest, unlike in Germany. Before the war, Germany had stationed almost 36,000 US personnel. By the number of US troops, Germany was followed by Italy and the UK.

But after Russia has invaded Ukraine, the US sent 20,000 more troops to Europe, mostly to Germany and Poland.

At the end of March 2023, about 10,000 US military personnel are on rotation in Poland. Polish President Andrzej Duda said about the same amount in February 2023. 

And the largest number of American soldiers is still concentrated in Germany.

Ukraine Armed Forces support rally disgracefully failed in Kyiv

According to the latest polls in Ukraine, 91% of Ukrainians still view Zelensky positively, a figure that has not changed since June 2022.

Against the background of such huge support for Zelensky, the Telegram channel of the Belarusian state propaganda published a video from a small rally that took place in Kyiv on March 24.

The rally was reportedly organized by the Ukrainian government in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But the news turned out to be false.

“The Kyiv authorities announced a large rally in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. You can see the scale for yourself. In fact, a small group of people gathered. It turned out that the “support of millions” is only in words in chats with bots. <...>

The rally in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine disgracefully failed. Where is the support of millions?” claimed the Telegram channel SB.BY Belarus Today.

The Ukrainian authorities have nothing to do with the March 24 rally. And they did not announce this rally, especially in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In fact, calls to gather in Kyev on the Maidan to “ask questions of the authorities” were spread by bloggers on social networks. Here are some examples below.

Thus, the author of the video used by Belarusian propagandists called on people to go to the rally and didn't mention any authority's support.

“Someone says it's a coup. I say we do not collect Maidan. We just have to show the government that we are the power. We are not silent. That we can take them to hell if the deputies do not calm down, if Yermak does not calm down,” he said.

Another blogger announced: 

“Hello, people. On March 24, 2023, at noon, we will all gather on the Maidan. We will discuss the issue of power.”

Tiktok blogger claimed:

“Definitely, the discontent of the population is growing. It is already very, very serious. Conversations in the kitchens never go away. There is more and more protest potential. Because more and more of those who have lost loved ones and lost relatives, friends.”

And this is an explanation of the real aim of the rally given by a popular Ukrainian blogger:

“Social networks have thrown a call to everyone who wants to ask uncomfortable questions to the Zelensky authorities.”

Hence, bloggers called for a rally against the authorities, not for the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And the result is seen in the video published by the Telegram channel SB Belarus Today. Only a few came to the rally.

Polish ruling party loses popularity because of border closures with Belarus, beloved by Poles, due to travel without visas

Parliamentary elections are to hold in Poland in late 2023. And this provoked the new fake creation by Belarusian propaganda.

The ruling PiS party in Poland is losing the voters' support due to unfriendly relations with Belarus, where the Poles so loved to travel without visas, claims Belarus-1 host Maria Petrashko in conversation with another person.

«— This decision is banal, stupid, short-sighted. The border crossing has been closed. Although according to official data, 470,000 Poles have already entered without a visa in a year. It is actually a crazy figure, despite the intimidation.

— If only we were allowed to calmly tell somewhere that one can come to Belarus so calmly, it seems that the figure would be many times...

— Millions, really millions would come. They have closed the border crossing and, accordingly, it caused discontent among the border regions of Poland, which, in fact, initially supported the ruling party.” 

Here is the following example of an untruth. But according to the official data of the Border Committee, only nearly 31,000 Polish citizens have visited Belarus since the start of the visa-free regime. The number 480 thousand is the total of people from three countries: Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland.

The number of Belarusians who received Polish visas was reported by the state TV channel Belarus 1. But TV hosts are sure the Polish authorities passed this information on purpose to the Poles before the elections.

Below is their commentary on the news that the Polish Foreign Ministry has issued about half a million visas to Belarusians since the beginning of the 2020 protests.

“Well, the figure seems wow.

Look how good it is in Poland that everyone is already running to the Garden of Eden. There are many bits in this news,” Maria Petrashko said.

According to Maria's calculations, a maximum of 24,000 Belarusians received humanitarian Polish visas. 

Note, that this figure refers to 2022. In total, fewer than 50,000 Belarusians have received Polish humanitarian visas since the start of the 2020 protests.

And IT specialists and their families received almost 70,000 more visas under the Poland Business Harbor program. These are also potential migrants.

For greater accuracy, one can track how many Belarusians moved to Poland by the number of residence permits issued.

Last year, almost 40,000 Belarusians requested a temporary residence permit. And about 55 thousand already have them. That is, more Belarusians decided to move to live in Poland than Poles who visited Belarus in a year.

Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile struck a 'shadow NATO Command Center' in Lviv

In Russia's war in Ukraine, the Bakhmut situation doesn't cease to be the most difficult. Ukraine is to be plotting a new counter-offensive. In this context, the Russian press reports on a secret Russian victory, which became known only a month later and from foreign sources.

“The results and details of the missile attack carried out by the Russian Aerospace Forces in early March have become known. According to the Greek portal of political and military information Pronews, citing its American sources, in Western Ukraine, a joint Ukrainian-NATO command and control center near Lviv has been struck by a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile.

” Russian newspaper MK reported.

The Belarusian propaganda telegram channel also picked up this information.

But in reality, the Greek resource Pronews references neither US sources nor any other.

“The Russians say they have pulled 40 dead from the wreckage of the underground headquarters so far, but most will never be recovered as they were buried by the debris,” Greek media reported.

The bunker was allegedly built 120 meters underground. There were 300 top foreign officers and employees of private companies inside. After being struck by the Kinzhal, no one survived.

Around the same period, March 12 and 13, many Greek information resources published the same message. 

Russia really bombed Ukraine with Kinzhal missiles, but on March 8 and 9. At that time Moskow has not reported anything about the destruction of the NATO command center.

While fact-checking we found a highly questionable source THE INTEL DROP from the USA which referred to Pronews. The outlet published the article with the title “Horrific Slaughter: Russia Finally Admits to Destroying NATO’s Deep Underground Command Bunker in Kyiv”. 

Five days before, THE INTEL DROP had already reported twice about the strike on the shadow NATO headquarters.

The first one was “Disaster: Russian Hypersonic Missiles Wipe Out US/NATO Secret Command in Kyiv, Dozens of Top US Officers Vaporized» written by Russian author Alexander Sitnikov. 

The second written by cossack colonel Yuri Kominyenko was published the same day with the title “2nd Kinzhal Attack Hits NATO’s Western Command Center 80 meters Underground, 40 Killed”.

The article refers to an Australian outlet Cairns news publication dated March 1 which was a week before the alleged NATO bunker strike by the Russian Kinzhal missile.

We conclude that, firstly, this information was initially launched by the Russians themselves. And secondly, the information was launched in the media BEFORE the bombing. Although all subsequent publications and reposts claim that the attack on the NATO bunker was on March 9th.

Until March 9, Russia attacked Ukraine with Kinzhals only in January, and attacks were made on Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia, but not on the Lviv region, where the bunker was allegedly located.

In addition, the board of directors of the outlet THE INTEL DROP is highly questionable.

It consists of former employees of the Veterans Today website, known for its penchant for conspiracy theories and cooperation with the Kremlin; as well as former officials of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, a former employee of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and finally, an active employee of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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